ALPHA TIGER: iDentity: CD

Alpha Tiger - iDentity

ALPHA TIGER are a power metal quintet that hails from Germany and formed back in 2007 under the name SATIN BLACK, and then turned into ALPHA TIGER. They have already released a few albums before this and this sees them hitting the ground running.

After a short instrumental intro, the album starts full speed ahead with “Lady Liberty,” a powerful song with heavy guitars and a great hook, plus the outstanding vocals from singer Stephan Dietrich who hits highs that have to be heard to be believed. There is even a power ballad on here, “Closer Than Yesterday” which features beautiful keyboard playing and great vocals. One thing that really stands out is the skill the band shows on this album throughout. Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch are amazing on guitar with great solos, David Schleif’s skill on the drums, Dirk Frei keeps the album solid with his mind-blowing bass, and of course Stephan Dietrich’s vocals on the album are amazing, with his sky-high vocal range. Other songs that really stood out were “We Won’t Take it Anymore,” “Identity,” “We Won’t Take it Anymore”, “Identity” (with a slightly melancholic chorus that really works to great effect), “Revolution in Progress” and “Scripted Reality,” but they all are really good.

This is the sound of a band that hungers for more, one that really loves what they are doing and is giving their all to their fans. They are looking for you to become a fan, and really, that should be easy with just one listen to the album.

https://www.facebook.com/AlphaTigerBand

http://www.alphatiger.de/

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http://www.spv.de/

TANKARD: R.I.B.: CD

Tankard is a thrash metal band from Frankfurt Germany, founded in 1982.  Along with the bands Kreator, Destruction and Sodom, Tankard is often considered one of the “The Big Teutonic Four” of Teutonic thrash metal. They released their first record in 1986 and continue to write and record in the same vein: fast metal songs in honour of alcohol. Now they’ve released their sixteenth album and they show no sign of slowing down.

The new album continues with songs about drinking, and general goofiness…what more did you expect from them? R.I.B. stands for Rest In Beer, and of course a German band should be singing about beer. Song after song of thrash played with skill and aggression, just they way it should, no overlong wank fests, hear that Metallica, just good old party time and anger mixed together. The riffs are glorious, the solos are tight, the bass is heavy the drums pummel and the gruff vocals are perfectly suited for the devastation here. The cool thing is that there are a lot of hooks on this album as well as some grooves that you wouldn’t think could be so effectively mixed into the songs. Of course you can bang your head, stage dive, or mosh to this, but the grooves are a nice treat. I really liked “No One Hit Wonder,” “War Cry,” R.I.B. (Rest In Beer),” “Enemy Of Order,” and “Clockwise To Deadline.” The production is tight and it lets the band truly shine on this release.

After all these years Tankard shows no sign of giving up or slowing down and being a sad shadow of themselves. You know what you are getting and with so many bands trying new things out on their fans, it’s great to hear a band doing what they do and doing it well.

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GIRLSCHOOL: Running Wild: CD

This is the first LP to be released without original guitarist and singer Kelly Johnson playing. Founding members Kim McAulliffe (guitar / lead vocals), and Denise Dufort (drums) were joined by Gil Weston-Jones (bass) Jackie Bodimead (lead vocals / keyboards) and Cris Bonacci (guitar). This was very much a keyboard driven album aimed at US radio, and also featured a cover version of KISS’s “Do You Love Me?”. This was previously only available in the United States on vinyl, and this is the first official release for the album on CD. It also features liner notes from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome based on new interviews with the band.

Yes, this is the album that most fans have either never heard, or never liked, I found it to be very glossy sounding, similar to VIXEN, but it still rocked enough to be a worthy piece in my collection. The cover of KISS’s “Do You Love Me?” should have been placed later on instead of the third song in, but it has a nice crunch to it that makes it another cool cover song from these ladies. “Nowhere To Run,” “Let Me Go,” “Something For Nothing,” and “Nasty Nasty” are really good sounding rock songs that stand out on the album.”Running Wild” is a ballad and while being well done, goes on longer than it should.

There is a big difference in sound from their earlier albums, the edge has been sanded down quite a bit, but they sound like they are still enjoying themselves and really, it’s Girlschool, they rock. I would have liked to have had some bonus tracks, maybe some demos of the songs or something, but at least people have the chance to hear the album on CD for the first time.

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http://www.girlschool.co.uk/

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http://www.cherryred.co.uk/default.asp

GOTTHARD: Bang!: CD

These Swiss rockers from Lugano, Switzerland were founded in the early 1990s by vocalist Steve Lee and guitarist Leo Leoni. The current line-up is made up of Leoni, Freddy Scherer (guitar), Marc Lynn (bass), Hena Habegger (drums) and his second album as their lead vocalist is Nic Maeder, following the tragic passing of Steve Lee in a motorcycle accident in late 2010.

The album opens with an intro, and then into the heavy bluesy title track that gets the head nodding with the tight playing and the fantastic chorus. “Get Up And Move On” is another terrific uptempo track with great vocals laid over the fuzzy guitars. “Feel What I Feel” has a driving rhythm, a melodic touch, and darker vocals that work really well together. There is a blues undertone throughout the album that gives it a lot of depth and character, and the guitar playing is fantastic throughout. “C’est La Vie,” a gentle ballad that adds an accordion, which is an integral part of this song. The album closes with the epic ten minute “Thank You,” dedicated to Leoni’s recently departed mother.

With a ton of banging tracks, great production and playing, this album is going to win over some new fans and please the diehards. The band takes all of the good things from previous albums, and builds on them with this release, making this a great start for newbies and a continuation of the grand adventures of this band.

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http://www.gotthard.com/de/

https://www.facebook.com/theendrecords

http://theendrecords.com/

SCREAM MAKER: Livin’ In The Past: CD

This band from Warsaw, Poland has released their EP We Are Not The Same in 2012, and now they have released their debut album Livin In The Past. The cover artwork was created by Rosław Szaybo, a Polish artist, and designer of Judas Priest’s British Steel album cover.

The album starts off with an instrumental intro, and then suddenly the band explodes into the song “In The Nest Of Serpents,” and the riff machine is off and running. “Glory For The Fools” comes right after it and keeps the pace of excellent guitar playing and the Dio-like vocals hit those high notes. Both songs feature excellent guitar work and vocals. The title track slows things down a bit, but keeps your interest with the pure power of the track. “Fever” is a very cool melodic track that will sound awesome in a live setting with its fantastic guitar solo. Other highlights include: “All My Life,” “Spacestone,”  “Never Say Never,” “Confessions,” and “Metalheads.” Band members Sebastian Stodolak (vocals), Ajronmajk (lead guitar), Marek Stanisz (rhythm guitar), Adam “Radził” Radziłowski (bass), and Tomasz Nachyła (drums) do an excellent job playing on this album, you can feel the emotion and energy that these cats put out on the songs.

A band that has a ton of potential and talent, they just need to be heard by a large group of people…go out and get this album! Metal for people who want something with balls and nothing so over the top or wimpy, just good metal.

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https://www.facebook.com/PerrisRecords

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ION VEIN: Self-titled: CD

After releasing two critically acclaimed albums with 1999’s Beyond Tomorrow and 2003’s Reigning Memories, and going through lineup changes has been the major reason why no new music hit the market for more than eight years. Now, after two digital E.P. releases, we now have the third full length album from the revamped quartet.

As six of these songs have appeared on those previous E.P.s, but now appearing as re-mixed/re-mastered versions, you might be thinking, why should I buy this release? You should because the album flows together, and the band simply kick ass on the new tracks. Ex-ENERTIA singer Scott Featherstone definitely has a more aggressive and grittier approach than the previous singer Russ Klimczak, which I think helps with the shorter, more hook oriented arrangements on this new album. Their power metal has gotten a bit heavier and has added a touch of more modern metal, but still retains everything that made earlier recordings a treat. Every song has power, thick bass, blistering guitar playing, killer drumming and the vocals that fit perfectly with the tighter, harder sound. Some of the highlights for me were, “Fools Parade,” “Enough,” “Face The Truth,” “Love/Hate,” “Anger Inside,” “The Will Of One,” and “Twist Of Fate.”

This album will get the power metal fans on board and with the heavier element, it should appeal to those who want more “heavy” in their metal. The band just keeps getting better and should be one of those groups that starts to garner more fans and attention and hit the higher echelon of metal bands.

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http://ionvein.bandcamp.com/

http://www.ionvein.com/

ORANGE GOBLIN: Back From The Abyss: CD

Like your heavy metal raw and dirty? Then you’re gonna dig this kick-ass album. Orange Goblin are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, but first, this London, England based act is releasing its eighth studio album.

Starting off with the superb “Sabbath Hex” is a hell of a way to start things off with its immediate and rollicking introduction to the album with great riffs and catchy lyrics. “Heavy Lies The Crown” starts off sounding like a stoner friendly song from the ’70s before turning into a huge riff-filled song. Ben’s gravelly vocals add so much to the growing heaviness of the track. “The Devil’s Whip” was the first single released by the band from this album and it is a killer rock’n’roll number that gets better the more you listen to it. “Into The Arms of Morpheus” slowly turns into a bluesy jam session that gets your head bobbing and makes you get out your air guitar to plat along. “Mythical Knives” has a quiet intro that slowly builds up into a bruiser of a tune that hits you square in the head. “Bloodzilla” is a fast one that just comes at you full tilt and knocks you on your ass, and keeps you down with the awesome power riffs and insane drumming. “Übermensch” has power and energy to spare and added to the gruff vocals, makes for a track that you just can’t get enough of. “Demon Blues” starts off with great riffing, terrific drumming and demonic vocals that turns into a spooky, but heavy as hell track that would rip your head off live. The rest of the album is chock full of hooks and riffs that once you put it on, you will have them cranked up and blowing your speakers.

If you’re a fan then you know what you are getting, but if you are new…wow, this is the real deal here! No glossy ballads, no guitar wanking, no lovey-dovey syrup in the lyrics, just a good, ass-kicking album, one you will be playing a whole lot.

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http://www.orange-goblin.com/  

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 http://candlelightrecordsusa.bandcamp.com/

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ACCEPT: Russian Roulette: CD

The final release in the classic quartet of mid-period Accept, Russian Roulette, an album that proved if you wanted crunchy metal, nobody did it better. The band has been around since 1976 and this was to be their final album with lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider until 1992.

The Cherry Red reissue finds the original ten tracks joined by a further three live songs which can originally be found on the 1990 live album, Staying A Life. “T.V. War” roars from the start, setting up a killer intro to this under-rated album. “Monsterman” keeps the high quality of the album going, “Russian Roulette” showcases gang vocals and builds into a massive track. “It’s Hard To Find A Way” is a more restrained track that has intensity and great vocals, “Walking In The Shadows” is a thick and heavy track that has incredible guitar playing. “Aiming High” is a definite highlight with a chorus that grabs you and doesn’t let go.

This excellent reissue from Cherry Red has a full sound, with mastering courtesy of Andy Pearce, and adds excellent liner notes by Malcolm Dome which feature contributions from drummer Stefan Kaufmann and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, as well as vintage pictures and the three live tracks add value to this great album.

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AXEL RUDI PELL: Into The Storm: CD

Renowned 53-year old German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell first established himself as part of the heavy metal group STEELER. After releasing four underrated studio albums with them, Pell launched a successful solo career, this being the fifteenth studio album (featuring his own material). The Axel Rudi Pell solo band also features lead vocalist Johnny Gioeli from HARDLINE, keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg from HELLOWEEN, Pell’s former STEELER band mate Volker Krawczak, and all-star drummer Bobby Rondinelli, well-known for his work in BLACK SABBATH, QUIET RIOT and RAINBOW.

After the intro “The Inquisitorial Procedure,” the band provides us a heavy metal song that sounds like a classic from the ’80s, “Tower of Lies,” with excellent riffs and Gioeli’s superb job on vocals, and fantastic solo from Pell. The energy level remains high with “Long Way To Go,” an awesome hard rock song that has a ton of energy. Then comes “Burning Chains,” with its awesome intro and the play between Pell on guitar and Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards. The over seven minute “Touching Heaven” has a bit of an old school metal feel to it that I loved, and features some modern flourishes as well, and the band’s remake of NEIL YOUNG’s “Hey Hey My My” is one of the better covers of this song. The ballad “When Truth Hurts has beautiful lyrics and a great vocal performance by Gioeli. Things get rocking again with “Changing Times” and its nice keyboards, gritty riffing and another classic solo that blew me away. “High Above” has soaring vocals and awesome playing by the entire band that it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser with people raising fists and singing along. The album’s closing track “Into The Storm” is an over ten minute long masterpiece that really blew my mind and just may be one of the album’s greatest moments and is a great example of how to compose long songs without boring the listener.

From start to finish this is an album that deserves to be played loud, often and all over the radio, sadly radio sucks so much that the only way to get this album popular is to buy it, play it for your friends and get them to buy a copy. If only more bands would put as much work into their albums as was put into this one, I would be a happier listener and reviewer…great stuff!

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http://www.axel-rudi-pell.de/index1.html

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http://www.spv.de/

SEBASTIAN BACH: ABachalypse Now: CD

ABachalypse Now is a live collection with two CDs and a DVD. It chronicles three different Bach solo shows last summer: Hellfest in France, Graspop in Belgium and the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Since the shows were so close together, the set lists are pretty similar. There’s a mix of classic Skid Row tracks and Bach’s solo material.

Now for the fun stuff, Bach has admitted that the vocals on the CD has been fixed in the studio, so you don’t get a live recording of him singing, but it really doesn’t bother me too much. If you are looking for a collection of your favorite songs from his solo career and with SKID ROW, this is the place to look. The band is tight, heavy and gives the songs the energy to make them stand out. You get song after song of power and emotion that really will get you cranking this up and blaring it out of your windows with a few beers down your neck.

You get two CDs and a DVD with three shows, what more can you ask for? This is great value for the money and if you are a fan, a purchase that you need to get.

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